Everyday, many people from US and other countries find their solutions here to solve their computer problem through the search engine. If the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are passed, it simply allows US government to censor the web. Someday, IceSquare may be blocked from the major search engines. In the other words, you won’t be able to find any solutions of your computer problem here.

Please sign the petition at Google to oppose SOPA and PIPA. If you live in US, please click here to tell your congress not to censor the web. Please visit here if you like to learn more about SOPA and PIPA.

Thank you.


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[Solved]VLC Crashes when playing Real Media Movie

Every time when I open a real media movie using VLC (VideoLAN) player, and when I try to fast forward or drag the time to a certain position, it crashes. It is very annoying because VLC is one of very few movie players that support real media format, especially on non-Windows platform, such as OS X and Ubuntu Linux.

Initially, I thought VLC is going to fix this bug very soon. After doing some researches, I found that this bug was introduced in a production release back in 2010. Although some users filed bug reports, it seems that it was not addressed. At least this bug is still exist in the released version.

After doing more investigations, I found that this bug was already addressed in the nightly builds version. Nightly builds version is a beta version. It comes with latest features. However, these features can be non-stable and not well tested. Since VLC crashes very often when playing real media movie, I think it doesn’t hurt to give the nightly builds version a try. Surprisingly, the overall experience is very good, and the problem seems gone!

If you like to give it a try, please click the follow link to download the nightly builds version.

» Download VLC Nightly Builds (Windows 32-bit)
* Get the one that looks something like: vlc-1.3.0-git-xxxxxxxx-xxxx-win32.exe
» Download VLC Nightly Builds (Windows 64-bit)
* Get the one that looks something like: vlc-1.3.0-git-xxxxxxxx-xxxx-win64.exe
» Download VLC Nightly Builds (OS X Intel 10.6 or later 64-bits)
* Get the one that looks something like:
» Download VLC Nightly Builds (OS X Intel 10.6 or later 32-bits)
* Get the one that looks something like:
» Download VLC Nightly Builds (OS X PowerPC 32-bit)
* Get the one that looks something like:

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How to keep the server running when the CPU fan is dead (and without buring the CPU)?

Few days ago, I found that the CPU fan of this server (i.e., was having some troubles. It was spinning slowly and making some weird noise. After opening the computer case and had a brief investigation, I found that the fan needed to be replaced. Unlike the computer case fan, CPU fan works with CPU socket. Given that there are so many different sockets available, it is not likely that the local stores have each in stock. In the other words, I need to order the CPU fan online. At the mean time, I need to power down the server or it will kill the CPU (over heated).

There are several way to minimize the down time:

  1. Get a back up server, or
  2. Remove a working CPU fan from other server, or
  3. Build your own CPU fan

The first two solutions require powering down other servers, which is not a good idea to me. That’s why I picked the third one. In the last week, my DYI fan works pretty well as temporary CPU fan. So far the CPU temperature was very stable and without any problem.

Different CPU fan has different design, including the air flow direction. A typical CPU fan actually draws the cold air into the CPU, and push the hot air out of the CPU.

Notice that some CPU fans work in an opposite way. Instead of pushing the cold air, they pull out the hot air (kind of like a vacuum). The best way to determine the air flow is by checking the fan rotation direction. After that, simply verify it with your right hand:

Based on this factor, it is possible to add a working computer fan on top of the broken CPU fan, as long as the air flow direction remains unchanged. In my situation, I used a regular computer case fan with similar dimension. i.e.,

Of course, you will need to power off the defective CPU fan first. Here is the final setup. You can use any regular plastic wrapped metal cable wire to secure the fan.

Although the air flow direction remains unchanged, the power of the air flow will be reduced because part of the energy is used to rotate the defective CPU fan instead of pushing the air to the CPU. In short, the cooling performance will be reduced and the CPU temperature will get increased. Therefore, it is a good idea to add more computer case fans to make up the difference. In my situation, originally I had a rear fan in additional to my CPU fan. Therefore I added one additional fan (One on rear, and one on the side). Keep in mind that you need to keep the computer case closed. Opening the case will decrease the cooling performance.

This setup had run for about a week at room temperature. During this period, I didn’t notice any temperature rise. Both system and CPU temperatures were below the warning threshold.

By using this solution, it is possible to keep the server running and keep your CPU happy. 🙂

FYI, in terms of the cooling performance, it is more efficient to push the cool air into the system than pulling the hot air out from the system in most cases.



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[Solved]Windows 7 Taskbar Loses Transparency

After letting Windows 7 to automatically upgrade my system, I found that the taskbar was no longer transparent. So I ran the trouble shooting features to find out why the transparency feature was gone.

Desktop -> Right Click -> Personalize -> Window Color

The transparency feature is not available. So I clicked on the trouble shooting link, and Windows complains about the incompatibility of the graphic card.

This computer problem is pretty obvious. Windows 7 installed a new graphic card driver for me which broke everything. To solve this computer problem, I simply download a driver developed by the manufacturer:

FYI, mine is nVidia GT-230M

After reinstalling the driver, everything went back to normal, and the taskbar is transparent again!

Story learned: Never install any graphic driver developed by Microsoft.

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HP2009m: Power Button Lockout

When I tried to turn off my HP2009m monitor by pushing the power button, I see the following message:

Power Button Lockout

Since HP has a tradition to make beautiful and quality monitor with the worst power button (Which means you have to keep it power on, or you need to get a new one even the monitor is doing okay), I was worrying about whether my monitor is “dead” or not.

After unplugging the power cable for a night and put it back the next day, I found that the problem was still there. So, finally I decided to reset the monitor to factory settings. Yay! It works!

So here is what I’ve done:

  • Push the Menu button
  • Select Factory Reset using the +/- key
  • Push the OK button
  • Select Yes by using the +/- key
  • Push the OK button

This computer problem should be gone. If the computer problem still exists, I will take apart the monitor (by remove the frame) and re-adjust the power button. That’s how I save my another HP monitor from being sent to landfill.


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How to join file.1, file.2, file.3…

Today, I found a list of files ending with .1, .2, .3 etc. Initially, I thought I could simply join them together, i.e.,

Using hjSplit on Windows, or cat on Unix:

cat file.1 file.2 file.3 > file

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out. After searching on google, I found that a Spanish software called Hacha can solve this problem. You can download Hacha from here.

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iLeopard Mail for Thunderbird 3.1

iLeopard Mail has been my favorite Thunderbird theme for a long time. Recently, I upgraded to Thunderbird 3.1 and I found that this theme is no longer available. Since I cannot find any theme that is similar to iLeopard Mail, I decide to upgrade the theme and make it compatible with Thunderbird 3.1.

Here is the instructions on how to make iLeopard Mail compatible with Thunderbird 3.1:

1. Click here to download iLeopard Mail for Thunderbird 3.1

2. Open Thunderbird

3. Tools –> Add-ons –> Themes

4. Click the Install button

5. Select the file you just downloaded, i.e., ileopard_mail-3.2.4-tb.jar

6. Click the Install button again

7. Restart Thunderbird if needed

8. Depends on how many theme is installed in your Thunderbird, it may or may not load the new theme automatically. You may need to activate the theme:

Enjoy your iLeopard Mail on Thunderbird 3.1!

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How to free up space on your iPod?

I have a 30GB iPod and I am always running out of space. Recently I found that iTune 9.1.079 comes with a new feature. This features simply converts high quality music file to standard quality music. By doing this, which results in decreasing the file size and free up the space for other music.

To enable this feature, simply open your iTune –> iPod –> Summary tab –> Options section –> Check the option: “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC”

Click below to enlarge the screenshot:

How to save space on your iPod?

How to save space on your iPod?

Before I enabled this option, there were only 2GB left on my iPod. Now I have 16.41GB free space, which is 8 times more than before!

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Bandwidth Tester Add-on for Firefox 3.5+

I always go hunting the Wi-Fi networking using my laptop. Everytime I got on a new Wi-Fi network, I like to measure its bandwidth. I found that Bandwidth Tester is pretty handy and I can get a result easily. If you are looking for this tool to work on Firefox 3.5+, here is a work-around version I created:

Download Bandwidth Tester 0.5.9 Add-On for Firefox 3.5+ here.


…And if you want to use any Firefox Add-on on Firefox 3.5+ but it is not available, feel free to let me know! Don’t forget to include the link. Thanks!

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CopyPlainText Add-On for Firefox 3.5+

CopyPlainText is one of my favorite Firefox add-ons because it can filter out all of the formatting and leave the text alone. It is an amazing tool especially when editing non plain-text editor such as Microsoft Word etc.

After I upgrade to Firefox 3.5, I found that this add-on is no longer available. Therefore, I created my work-around version here. No functionality has been changed, except it works fine in Firefox 3.5+ 🙂

Download CopyPlainText 0.3.4 for Firefox 3.5 from here.


…And if you want to use any Firefox Add-on on Firefox 3.5+ but it is not available, feel free to let me know! Don’t forget to include the link of the apps.

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